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Newsom Recall Backers Submit 1.1 Million Signatures as Deadline Approaches

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Almost 1.1 million signatures have been submitted in support of a recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom, state elections officials reported Friday, though supporters said a sizable number of voter petitions have yet to be reviewed as the effort approaches next month’s official deadline.

The tally released by Secretary of State Shirley Weber shows that 1,094,457 signatures had been turned in as of Feb. 5, with 668,202 confirmed as valid. The majority of signatures that remained — more than 296,000 — had not yet been reviewed by elections officials in California’s 58 counties, making it difficult to fully assess the likelihood of a special statewide election later this year. An additional 130,108 signatures were deemed invalid during the review process.

One factor in favor of recall backers is the relatively low rate of rejected signatures. Only about 16% of those that have been checked for accuracy were rejected, significantly better than most ballot measure campaigns in recent years.

The groups seeking to remove Newsom from office, with Heatlie’s organization coordinating the effort, must submit 1,495,709 valid voter signatures by March 17 to trigger a recall election.

Should the Newsom recall effort qualify for the ballot, one feature of the election will be unique to the pandemic era. On Friday, the governor signed legislation extending last year’s election rules — requiring that every registered voter be mailed a ballot — for all special elections held in 2021.

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